The Fresno Bee Reported on Tuesday that U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston has ruled that Walmart broke California’s minimum wage law when the company failed to pay its drivers for all the tasks they do. The May 28th ruling argued that “under California law, the drivers must be paid for all the time that they were subject to Walmart’s control”.
The Fresno law firm filing the suit on behalf of the truck drivers, noted that they were not compensated for a number of tasks performed, including waiting in line to load or unload cargo, washing and fueling their trucks, and filling out federally mandated trip slips. Illston found Walmart in violation of the law because they designated these required tasks as “unpaid activities”.
Walmart could end up owing between 100 and 150 million dollars in back pay and penalties as a result of the ruling. Despite being found guilty of wage theft, Walmart company spokesman Randy Hargrove is continuing to deny the claims. He argues that Walmart pays their truck drivers well and he insists, despite the ruling, that “there has been no finding that any Walmart driver has not been paid minimum wage for each hour worked”.
Walmart attorneys challenged the ruling with deliberately obtuse arguments mocking the concept of paying truck drivers for every task. The attorneys argued:
Does the Labor Code require drivers to be separately paid for putting a key in the ignition or while sitting at a stop light?
The lawyers’ feeble attempt to deflect the issue away from wage theft simply makes the company look miserly. Truck drivers probably regard putting the key in the ignition and stopping at traffic signals as part of driving, but asking drivers to be paid while cargo is loaded and unloaded is a reasonable request.
Naturally, unloading a loaded truck takes longer than inserting a key into an ignition switch, and workers should be entitled to compensation while they are still on the clock. loading or unloading freight. The judge’s ruling should be applauded, and Walmart needs to compensate their truck drivers with the back pay they have earned.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.